back to article Teen jailed for ARMED ROBBERY says he and pals had been inspired by Grand Theft Auto

An Australian gamer will be jailed for two years for armed robbery after using the novel defence that he and his friends had been trying to re-enact the game Grand Theft Auto while drunk. He pleaded guilty to an aggravated assault charge. Kristian Allan Coulter Scott was one of three men who held up a service station last year …

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Devil

Anti-game crusaders in 5, 4, 3......

Computer games!

We are all going to die!

Horror!

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Coat

Re: Anti-game crusaders in 5, 4, 3......

They aren't completely fruit loops IHMO. I have begun to wonder how mentally healthy it is for some children to spend most of their free personal time playing computer games. You don't have social interaction (losing subtle non-verbal cues and the affirming notion of belonging to a group) and in the isolation of the bedroom, where I assume most games are played, there's little oversight of a childs emotional state and thus missed opportunities to moderate excessively defeatist / aggressive behaviour. I don't believe excessive play of computer games for most children will do more than bring early onset of carpel tunnel syndrome, but I do worry for the children who already have poor emotional control / lack good social skills. What I wonder and worry about is if excessive engagement in isolating activity could promote or exacerbate traits leading to a Personality Disorder whereas inclusive social activity could alleviate them.

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Anonymous Coward

It just goes to show how safe cannabis use is especially when used in conjunction with alcohol.

I'm assuming it was a very mellow robbery,

'Hi mate, stay cool dude, I just want to watch those pretty lights so would you mind putting a few items in this sack here?"

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Re: Anti-game crusaders in 5, 4, 3......

If only he'd been playing Kerbal Space Program, Australia could be halfway to Mars now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anti-game crusaders in 5, 4, 3......

but I do worry for the children who already have poor emotional control / lack good social skills.

yeah, in the age before video games they at least had human interaction while being beaten up by bullies at school, so that made it much better

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Re: Anti-game crusaders in 5, 4, 3......

> What I wonder and worry about is if excessive engagement in isolating activity could promote or exacerbate traits leading to a Personality Disorder whereas inclusive social activity could alleviate them.

My personal suspicion is that a case can be made that the virtual world is the best place for a kid which already has personality disorders, because of the type of inclusive social activity it would be likely to engage in.

Playing games, the kid would be cooperating with other players to reach some kind of goal in a virtual setting. Out in society, it'd be cooperating with other kids to do drugs, burglarize cars and rob other kids.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anti-game crusaders in 5, 4, 3......

yeah, in the age before video games they at least had human interaction while being beaten up by bullies at school, so that made it much better

Don't be silly, in the good old days the bully got them to hold his victims down while he beat them up. Then they got the blame and potentially the criminal record.

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Re: Anti-game crusaders in 5, 4, 3......

He can't have been stoned, or he'd have been on the sofa, still.

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Pint

Re: Anti-game crusaders in 5, 4, 3......

or he'd have stolen loads of crisps and chocolate to feed an attack of the post pot munchies*....

*so I've been told

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Re: Anti-game crusaders in 5, 4, 3......

Children still attend school and that gives them plenty of opportunities for social interaction.

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Re: Anti-game crusaders in 5, 4, 3......

I know you're just trying to be clever, but, for christ's sake, try to get your facts straight.

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Re: Anti-game crusaders in 5, 4, 3......

*so I've been told

Yep, its true as my waistline will testify...

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Odd world.

Inspired by a video game. Commits robbery. People get all upset about games, hardly talk about any other background.

Inspired by a religious book. Commits murder and/or any number of other major crimes. No mention of banning the book in question. People get all riled up if you dare mention it.

It's an odd world.

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Re: Odd world.

Back in the good old days this kind of excuse was called "bollocks"

Then the world was taken over by the same people that gave us "health and safety"

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Re: Odd world.

Back in the good old days this kind of excuse was called "bollocks"

Which neatly paraphrases the judge's remarks in a single word, don't you think?

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Re: Odd world.

Certainly an odd world were people kill each other because they think that their book that tells them that killing is wrong is the right one and thus they must kill anyone who doesn't agree...

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Loser

So he's a weak minded loser. If it hadn't been GTA it would have been something else...

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Anonymous Coward

Just an excuse

Some school friends of mine did this back when the BBC micro was news, though to an off-license, they let the assistant go into the back to get more cigarettes - obviously called the police.

They were caught while waiting for the getaway bus!

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Oh, for crying out loud. I spent countless quarters playing Pac-Man and you never saw me running around in the dark listening to repetitive electronic music and gobbling pills... Uhhh... Never mind.

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The "I'm a victim, not a perpetrator!" defense.

If it isn't video games, it's affluenza, rock music, rap music, poverty, drugs, abusive parents or simply being born on the wrong side of the track. It sometimes works, so defense lawyers turn to it when they have nothing else.

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Re: The "I'm a victim, not a perpetrator!" defense.

Gee, Officer Krupke...

http://www.westsidestory.com/site/level2/lyrics/krupke.html

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made me do it

The devil...uhh..Dungeons and Dragons...uhhh...video nasties...uhhh...rap music...uhhh...video games

made me do it

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Re: made me do it

Back in the 1800s it was popular theater that was to blame.

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Re: made me do it

That damn Shakespeare, he's such a bad influence on our kids, encouraging them to go out and kill their families, kings and themselves.

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Re: made me do it

If your Elizabethan child was watching Shakespeare then you should be more concerned about the whoring going on in the hallway rather than the play itself.

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Re: made me do it

To the person who downvoted me, I would just clarify that in Shakespeare's day there was a problem with prostitution and syphilis that has now been resolved through modern medicine.

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Pfff. Please

Doom didn't want to make me go grab a shotgun and gibbing people who looked funny. GTA1 didn't make me want to go run over people (though it did make me shout out "GOURANGA" in my head when I saw a hare christina), Carmagedon didn't make me want to go run over cows with a car, C&C (the NOD disk) didn't make me want to go form a evil plot to take over the world.

Burnout didn't make me want to go take down all the other cars on the road (though I do drive a tad bit faster if I get behind the wheel immediately after playing that), or jump some ramps and smash through a billboard

In fact the only game that I can recall ever really make my blood boil was World of Warcraft, which has absolutely no basis in reality. And that was usually only when we wiped on a Raid due to someone not doing their appointed role... and another time when my missus, after telling me to come to bed several times, switched off the power at the fusebox.

But it is a moot point now as I don't play WoW any more.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pfff. Please

"I don't play WoW any more."

Is that because she got it in the divorce?

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Re: Pfff. Please

She left me the characters, but took all the epic/legendary gear. More brutal than a Pre-Nerfed C’Thun.

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Back in the ancient days books made people do evil things. Then when we got radio it was that darn rock and roll music. Many moons later it was movies, then television. Now it's videogames.

When are people going to realize, "Hmm, maybe it isn't any of these external things. Maybe the guy was just an asshole who found an excuse"

They're also trying to use videogames as a basis for that why a UK student stabbed his spanish teacher. "He was obsessed with ultra-violent videogames, and had being playing dark souls 2"

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2615694/Loner-schoolboy-murder-suspect-enjoyed-video-games.html

These people have underlying issues, a videogame doesn't make you kill people, being unhinged makes you kill people, the videogame can on occasions be a trigger, but so could any number of things, like somebody pushing in front of you in a queue... Actually for me that's even more of a trigger, bastard queue jumpers.

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The question (when asked by people with half a brain) is not "do video games make people kill people?". The question is "do video games increase, society-wide, the number of people getting killed?". If the answer is "yes", then you ask "how much", and "is it worth it?". Compare guns: the NRA slogan "guns don't kill people, people kill people" is completely correct. Nonetheless, the widespread availability of guns to random idiots appears to significantly increase the number of people who get killed. Thus most of the world restricts availability. Similarly with private use of motor vehicles.

There is a whole bunch of research on whether violent video games tend to make people more violent in reality, and it's not a trivial question.

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Headmaster

Don't blame it on the Bossa Nova

Back in the ancient days books made people do evil things. Then when we got radio it was that darn rock and roll music. Many moons later it was movies, then television.

Just a little historical info: Movies and television preceded rock 'n' roll music.

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Re: Don't blame it on the Bossa Nova

I apologize.

As for the number of studies on videogames and violence. I did a brief paper at uni which took an overview of a selection of these papers. A few things came out of it.

1: Almost all papers were paid for by organisations looking for a result. "We want videogames banned, here's our evidence" vs "We don't, here's OUR evidence"

2: Most of the papers looking for the "increased violence" / "decreased perceptions of violence" were poorly designed. As an example of one such experiment, they took peoples resting stress levels, heart rates etc and then asked them to gauge a picture on how violent it was on a scale of 1 - 10. They then got them to play a violent game for an hour, and performed the same test again. The problem with the paper was it was directly after playing the game, so when they re-took the heart rate / stress indicators etc they were still slightly elevated from the game which lead to a very skewed result.

A further experiment by somebody defending videogames performed the same text, exactly the same, and got the same results, following they gave them a 20 minute break after playing the game (20 minutes may not be accurate, it was under an hour) and performed the same test and the results were by and large the same as the pre-videogame tests.

They then brought up that the same phenomenon can be seen in any number of situations, such as the way people drive when listening to ride of the valkyries or after watching a bond film.

Effectively I don't know the answer. I know I play a lot of violent videogames but am not a violent person myself. However bringing up studies I've found to be useless since the vast majority are based on poor test scenarios, aimed at getting a certain result. The very few impartial ones I've found have leaned to the side of "can't judge any long term affects, however short term for up to X hours after gaming there's an increase in adrenaline"

3: I agree that games should be kept out of the hands of those who are too young for them, that's why games have age ratings. And unlike the USA, in the UK a game that says 18+ on it can only legally be sold to somebody 18+ which I can approve of. There are some kids who can better adapt to games than others. However a great deal of people who do this kind of thing appear to use it as an excuse more than anything. They would have most likely done something akin to this anyway. As I said before, for these people are just waiting on a trigger, it may be that they got owned in CoD, it may be that they were given a failing grade and they felt they deserved more, it may be that they felt they were 'embarassed' in class by the teacher and wanted revenge. In the situation of the kid who stabbed his teacher I find this to be far more likely. It wasn't a random stabbing, it wasn't a spur of the moment, it was a planned murder.

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Silver badge

When correlations are very hard to find, that's a sign they don't exist.

Science can't disprove things, it can only show if things are statistically significant correlated. This means that, for instance, it is impossible to prove that a substance is absolutely not cancerogenous, or that compter games absolutely do not cause violent behavior. It is easy to show strong correlations (for instance, that smoking correlates with cancer, or that driving drunk correlates with getting in to accidents), but as correlation gets weaker, it gets progressively more difficult.

Any situation where you have many studies which more or less randomly (or, as in the case of fictional violence vs real violence, tendentiously) get completely different results regarding whether two things are correlated, you should suspect that in reality the correlation is extremely weak or non-existent.

As for badly/tendentiously designed: my favorite "fictional violence causes real violence" study had a toddler placed for 20 minutes alone in an empty room with nothing but a doll, a plastic toy hammer, and a TV showing a cartoon in which one character hit another with a hammer. If, at any point, the toddler put any part of the hammer in contact with the doll, it was considered to have been inspired by the cartoon to hit the doll with the hammer. I'm sure it comes as a surprise that they found a correlation between fictional and real violence.

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Re: Don't blame it on the Bossa Nova

> Movies and television preceded rock 'n' roll music.

And so did the criticism that they misled the youth and caused violence and decadence. Popular literature is of course bad too:

"People these days are reluctant to read the canonical texts, but they love fiction. Not all fiction, mind you, for they are sick of exemplary themes and far prefer the obscene and the fantastic. How low contemporary morals have sunk!"

-- Li Yu, "The Carnal Prayer Mat", published in 1693.

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Alien

I think his defence is valid....

I have built a massive gun that can fire projectiles, it runs on rails and for protection I have 3 houses that will happily absorb laser blasts from nefarious aliens.

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They've blamed games, films, music and everything else in between.

He stabbed her and he is the reason she is dead.

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WTF?

errrrrr..........

"He stabbed her and he is the reason she is dead."

errrrrr..........

did you read the same story as me?

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Re: errrrrr..........

It's because two conversations have errupted in this forum. One regarding the article, and another regarding a case in teh UK where a kid stabbed his spanish teacher to death, for which newspapers are trying to angle that he played violent videogames.

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Anonymous Coward

Yoof is wasted on the young

Armed robbery should be at least 5 years in prison IMO.

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Holmes

Being drunk is a defence?

"using the novel defence that he and his friends had been trying to re-enact the game Grand Theft Auto while drunk"

Why is that considered a defence? It's been a long while since being drunk was considered a defence against a charge of dangerous driving, so why is it for other crimes? It is hardly novel - it is quite common to hear of court cases (unless it is about driving) where being drunk or being high on drugs is given as a defence.

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Re: Being drunk is a defence?

Being drunk/high is usually considered an aggravating circumstance.

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'and cigarettes'

--should be recorded as a drug-related crime. Odd that the article mentions he was drunk and dope-affected, but you're just left to infer that he was in nicotine withdrawal.

Absolutely typical crime though. Knocks over a servo for whatever change is in the drawer AND CIGARETTES. In fact, how often do you hear of an attempted armed robbery on a service station where they did NOT also steal cigarettes? Not enough money to buy the cigarettes.

It used to be a war-crime to torture POW's by withdrawing cigarettes. Heard a guy bragging about having that removed from the war-crime list: I got the impression he thought it was ok to torture smokers by removing cigarettes.

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Real effect of computer games

We've seen a decline in violent crime as computer games have become more common.

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